Digital Services Despite the Storm

Photo courtesy of the author. No books were harmed during this photo!
Photo courtesy of the author. No books were harmed during this photo!

Trapped inside this weekend, like many Northeast residents, I became restless after just a few hours of being snowbound. Avoiding my Saturday librarian duties, as my library announced its closure early Friday, I searched to see what many libraries in the area were doing in terms of marketing their services amidst winter storm Jonas. One thing that moving online has accomplished is a way to engage with patrons and the opportunity for users to access services despite inclement weather closures.

Even if the physical doors are closed, there is still an opportunity to share all the digital resources that the library offers. After sledding and snowball fights, families might be taking respite online with social media, or at least posting family albums of #jonas2016. The Adult Programming Librarian, who manages our library Tumblr, did not break for the storm.  Many librarians reached out to followers no matter what the circumstances. Whether it’s Tumblr, Facebook, Yik Yak, or other social media outlets, they used the opportunity to share tips and tricks for weathering the storm.

Want to hear the Frozen soundtrack one more time? Highlighting services like Freegal and Hoopla will give patrons options for a little background music throughout the winter. The amount of children’s content on Hoopla continues to wow our community, and the expanded offerings in digital comics this past year makes it a much more favorable service for kids and teens.

Finding it a challenge to keep up your database numbers in the children’s department? Perhaps engaging virtually with trivia questions might bring exposure to some disappearing resources. You can even make an impromptu event out of it depending on your audience. It’s amazing that many patrons still have no idea about the online databases and reference services available through the library. Specifically when it comes to language learning, access to free services such as Mango Languages and Muzzy Online through the local library put other products to shame. A few hundred dollars for some language learning packages – quelle horreur!

Last, but certainly least, if it’s impossible to grab a book from the library pre-storm, there’s always a chance to remind patrons their digital library is still accessible. Stocking up on Magic Tree House favorites or the latest Imaginary Veterinary series installment, is possible at any time of day. Sometimes even our young users need to be reminded of that.

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children and Teen Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at cmoore@darienlibrary.org.

Visit the Digital Media Resources page to find out more about navigating your way through the evolving digital landscape.

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